Friday, 23 November 2007

Look and Learn: An Interesting Story from 1980's New York Black/Hispanic Gay Culture

Dorian Corey was a 'legendary' transexual in New York , who in the 1980's - early 1990's was head of the House of Corey, one of the many Houses that dominated the New York Ball scene.

If you haven't seen the documentary 'Paris is Burning' then you really should, it's an utterly fascinating view of an underground world that doesn't exist anymore. Young, mainly black and hispanic gay men flocked to New York City in the 70's and 80's where they could be free to be who they wanted to be...within limits. These were aspirational times, when you didn't just want to be yourself, you wanted to be you but better, a banker, a yuppie, Joan Collins in Dynasty. Being poor, gay and an ethnic minority meant you had the faintest chance of this happening, except at the Balls, where you could dress fierce, compete in catwalks or vogueing competitions to win prizes and for that evening you WERE fierce.

Most of these young men were rejected by their real families for their homosexuality or transexualism and so saught solace in a new sort of family. Called 'houses' and named after the great fashion houses of Paris such as 'House of Dior' or 'House of Chanel', they consisted of a house mother (usually an older transsexual a.k.a a Legendary, a veteran of the ball scene) and a house father (usually an older butch gay man), and all the other members were the children.
They would all take the surname of their house, and compete in Balls for them.

Anyway, back to Corey. Wikipedia had this unusual little tidbit:
After Corey's death in 1993, a mummified body with gunshot wounds was found in Corey's belongings. The body, which had been shut in a trunk for more than twenty years, had a note attached to it which read "This poor soul broke into my apartment and I was forced to shoot him." It was later identified as Robert Worley.

For more on Ball Culture, which is quite frankly fascinating, see:

or look up Willi Ninja on youtube

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